3 years ago

Vector-borne parasitic infections in dogs in the Baltic and Nordic countries: A questionnaire study to veterinarians on canine babesiosis and infections with Dirofilaria immitis and Dirofilaria repens

Canine vector-borne diseases have been spreading northwards in Europe, and canine babesiosis and infections with Dirofilaria immitis (heartworm) and Dirofilaria repens have been diagnosed also in the Baltic and the Nordic countries. We used an online questionnaire to survey how large a proportion of veterinarians in the Baltic (Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania) and the Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden) saw canine babesiosis cases and dogs infected with D. immitis and D. repens in 2016. In addition, questions regarding transmission, zoonotic potential, clinical signs, and treatment of the infections were asked. The questionnaire was completed by 122 veterinarians. In 2016, 23% of them had seen at least one case of canine babesiosis, 15% at least one dog with D. immitis infection, and 9% at least one dog with D. repens infection. A veterinarian working in the Baltic countries had 12.2 times higher odds to have seen a canine babesiosis case and 9.3 times higher odds to have seen a dog with D. repens infection than a veterinarian working in the Nordic countries did. While 48% of the veterinarians knew that canine babesiosis is not considered a zoonosis, 26% knew that D. immitis is zoonotic and 34% knew that D. repens is zoonotic. The results suggested that autochthonous cases of the three vector-borne parasitic infections were seen by veterinarians in the Baltic countries, whereas most cases seen by veterinarians in the Nordic countries appeared to be imported. A substantial proportion of the veterinarians did not know whether the parasites are zoonotic.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0304401717303114

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